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Cardiff policy café: engaging with research, policy and practice

The aim of the policy cafe is to bring together researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to encourage reflection and debate about research, policy and practice in diverse fields of social and public policy activity. Opportunities to network, exchange ideas and to identify future directions in research, policy and practice in Wales are integral to the outcomes of the cafe.

The monthly events will run from 5.30-7.00pm and will involve two speakers delivering presentations or workshops arranged around a specific policy or policy area to provide real value to the target participants. The opportunity for round-table discussions and group feedback will be an essential part of each event. Cheese and wine will be provided. All events will take place in the Committee Rooms, Glamorgan Building. Cardiff University.

Next Policy Café: 

Wednesday 22nd May: 5:30-7pm: Committee rooms, Glamorgan building: wine and cheese buffet. 


'The only way is ethics'

Mike Lewis, director/consultant 'Hawliau'; former CEO of the Welsh refugee council 

This Policy Café will operate as a facilitated session on the nature and importance of ethical decision-making; particularly in relation to public management and services. Central to this will be an exploration of the role, boundaries and focus of ethical leadership. Attendees will be encouraged to reflect on their ethical context, personally, professionally and organisationally, and relate these to real life, work based situations. Ethics has been described as ‘dull and intellectually dense‘, whereas this session takes a practical work-based focus which has important implications beyond the work setting. It is hoped that an intensively interactive session will encourage personal reflection, lively debate and the sharing of good practice – particularly at a time when financial austerity and Big Society rhetoric is providing significant challenges to justice-based social and public policy. 
This event will be of particular interest to those with an interest in rights-based approaches to public services and research; ethics of justice and care; participation; and co-production.  
For more information and to register to attend please visit:
For any queries or to sign up to our mailing list, please email


Previous Policy Cafe events:

A night to discuss the Welsh Baccalaureate

Tuesday 26th March

Chair: Professor Gareth Rees, WISERD Director, Cardiff University

‘Findings from the review of the Welsh Baccalaureate’: Huw Evans: WBQ Chair of the 14-19 qualifications review

Hugh will focus on the outcomes of the Review of Qualifications and its potential impact on the Welsh Baccalaureate. More specifically Hugh will consider a) its role within an increasingly devolved approach within the context of a Welsh educational system, and b) the pivotal role of Qualifications Wales and its future role in shaping and steering our direction of education in Wales. 

‘The impact of the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification on Higher Education participation and progress’: Professor Chris Taylor, Cardiff University 

Chris will be presenting findings from a recent project to examine the relationships between the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma (WBQ) and Higher Education (HE). In particular, this Welsh Government-funded project set out to explore what impact, if any, having the WBQ had on students' participation in to HE and their progress and outcomes once they were in university. The mixed methods study involved analysis of longitudinal data from the National Pupil Database and the Higher Education Statistics Agency alongside interviews and focus groups with students and staff from school sixth forms and universities from across Wales.

Whether you're coming to find out (more) about the Welsh Baccalaureate, or to engage in debate about it, we'd love to see you there.

NB: This event will aim to start at 17:35. Registration will be open from 17:10.  

This event is free but you must register to attend. To register and to find out more information please visit 


If you are a practitioner, researcher or you work in a relevant policy arena, and are interested in learning more about a specific area of work, and want to engage with and influence research, practice or policy then we would love to see you there. To sign up for our mailing list, suggest any topic areas or for more information please email:

The policy cafe team: Sara Knight, Dr. Nick Johns, Sophie Hallett, Olivia Pearson


Co-production: Participation by a new name or something more radical?

Policy Café Launch: February 26th 

Welcome: Professor Mark Drakeford: Assembly Member Cardiff West; Cardiff University

‘Talking ‘bout a revolution': Ruth Dineen: Director, Co-production Training UK; Research Fellow, Cardiff University 

Co-production is a values-based approach to public services which, at first glance, appears to consist of nothing more than being really nice to people and accepting that everyone has something to contribute. Although that would arguably be a pretty radical move in its own right, the really radical element lies in the intended outcome of all this niceness and reciprocal inclusivity. And that is nothing less that a genuine shift of power from government to citizen. We need a revolution. The challenge for policy-makers is therefore twofold: how can you legislate for 'niceness', and how can you encourage governments to share power with citizens. Over to you...

Co-production - a timebanking case study: Becky Booth: Chief Executive, Spice

Community decline and civic disengagement is not confined to the old mining towns in the South Wales valleys, it's a national trend. Spice has developed agency time credit applications to engage people in the design and delivery of their public and community services and to support people to take a more active role in their communities. Whether that is with pupils in schools, tenants in housing associations or local people working with their community anchor organisation, these time agency tools increase active engagement, reduce dependency and build community and individual esteem. Drawing on examples from Spice's work across England and Wales, Becky will introduce some of the key challenges and opportunities for co-production in public, private and third sector services.